From a recent TV interview by host Michael Williams on WPTV Channel 5’s Sunday morning program, “To the Point”, it is obvious Michael Barnett does not plan to use his race as a key focus of his calling card as new chair of the Palm Beach County Republican Party. More important to the 37 year old lifelong Republican, 27 year resident of Palm Beach County, graduate of the Law School at the University of Miami and practicing lawyer since 2007, is that core Republican pillars, values and principles are non-negotiable.
As the first African American Republican Party Chairman for Palm Beach County, Mr. Barnett emphasized that the message is not a problem for Republicans, but messaging is a problem. The first order of business for the PBC Republican leader, as he indicated, will be to get the grassroots grounded in a game plan of reaching out to voters not just two weeks before an election, but starting now two years before an election, organizing a board of directors and working so that precinct committee members and workers are known in their areas by name and can be there to provide the information voters and potential voters may need.
Chairman Barnett admits that one mistake Republicans have made in the past is not pursuing the minority vote; however, he indicated that in the recent general election, Rick Scott’s African American vote had doubled from the 2010 election and that the Hispanic vote for Rick Scott increased by a high amount. Host Michael Williams pointed out that Rick Scott won by less than 100,000 votes, so Scott’s election results may not be a valid gage for minority support to the Scott increase.
Barnett feels that taking time with minorities to speak with them and educating potential party members on various political positions Republicans have taken over the years and now will bring better understanding and appreciation of the Republican stance of issues on the economy, jobs, education, et al. As a part of the Conservative wing of the party, Barnett believes in pro-life and traditional marriage. Michael Barnett was elected to his new position unanimously.
Michael Williams also brought to Mr. Barnett’s attention that currently of the registered voters in PBC, 369,618 are Democrats, 245,780 are other and the remaining 237,727 are Republicans. Definitely the new PBC Republican Chairman has a big job ahead as all focus is becoming full blown to the 2016 Presidential Election and to date, Palm Beach County is Democrat solid.